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ComplexCity: Youth Competitions and Cultural Events

By July 10, 2023July 11th, 2023No Comments

This is the second of a 3-part series on YUVA’s annual urban festival ComplexCity, which seeks to bring different participants of Mumbai to engage with the question of building an inclusive city. The first part on the Youth Convention can be read here and the third part on the Photography Workshop can be read here.

As Franklin Roosevelt rightly said, ‘We cannot always build the future for our youth but we can build our youth for the future’.

This saying truly came home during the debate, poster making, and poetry competitions organized at YUVA’s ComplexCity festival for the youth. Youngsters of all ages were seen actively taking part in these competitions. Although for many people it was their first time on stage, they did an amazing job by using poetry, poster-making, and debate to express their emotions, creativity, and opinions.

As a festival, ComplexCity aims to bring together diverse perspectives from the community and connect experiences. Its primary objective is to initiate interactions between diverse individuals, and through the process build critical knowledge and insights on the city, and develop more respect and appreciation for the city’s diversity. Especially given the vast differences in living standards in the city, the festival aims to creatively bridge gaps that exist in society and people’s understanding of one another. 

What better way to inaugurate a youth-focused event than a collective reading of the Preamble to the Constitution and a song dedicated to Bhagat Singh.

Image 1: Youths participating in the Poster-making competetion

As one of the judges at the event said, what makes the youth special is their critical questioning. Young people bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and energy to the table. They have the potential to drive positive change, challenge the status quo, and create a more inclusive society.

One of the participants of the poetry competition delivered a stirring phrase in his poem.

वैसे तो पाणी आता नही हमारी बस्ती मे

वैसे तो पाणी आता नही हमारी बस्ती मे

पर बारीश मे इतना पाणी आता है

की सारा समान भी भीग जाता है

“Although there is no water supply to our basti

Although there is no water supply to our basti

But when when it rains, there is so much water

That everything in the house gets drenched.”

It only serves to highlight the need for young voices to be heard more frequently and taken seriously by having such a tender perspective and an eye for minute details at such a young age.

The poster-making competition was as creative and artistic as the poetry session. Art is a powerful way to communicate ideas that cannot be adequately articulated in words. The theme for all the three competitions was “Mera shehar, meri pehchaan (my city, my identity).”

During the debate competition, a variety of topics were discussed. The youth presented knowledgeably on all topics. Every team gave their best performance and engaged in a spirited debate on every topic.

Image 2: Youths participating in the Debate Competition

It is unfortunate that many people may view youth as being irrelevant or unintelligent simply because of their age. This can be attributed to various factors such as generational gaps, stereotyping, and a lack of appreciation for the unique perspectives and experiences that young people bring to the table.

The cultural event, where everyone displayed their talents, was my favorite part of the entire day. Rap, singing, dancing, shayaris and other forms of entertainment were performed during this segment.

Image 3: A participant reciting their poem in the Poetry competition

The event ended with a dance performance on the popular but misinterpreted marathi song “Lallati Bhandar” from Jogwa. Through their performance, the dancers from the ‘Mankhurd team’ showcased the entire transgender communities’ journey.

‘This city is built on exclusion and YUVA works towards maintaining the vibrancy and diversity of the city to make it a just and inclusive city’, a participant said.  

By empowering young people and valuing their contributions, we can create a more inclusive and dynamic society that benefits all generations.

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